The Washington Stealth battled back from a three-goal deficit in the first quarter, but lost 10-9 in overtime to the Philadelphia Wings tonight. Kevin Crowley, the top pick in the most recent National Lacrosse League Entry Draft, scored his fifth goal of the night just over three minutes into overtime to give the Wings its first win of 2012, while the Stealth drops to 0-2 for the first time since 2009.
The first quarter belonged to Philadelphia, as Crowley single-handedly put the Wings on top with a natural hat trick in the opening frame. The Stealth answered in the second quarter, outscoring the Wings 3-0 on goals from Jeff Zywicki, Brett Hickey and Matt Beers. Hickey’s was the first of his career.
The goaltenders were stellar in the first half; the Stealth’s Tyler Richards making 17 first half saves while his counterpart for the Wings, Brandon Miller, made 21. But while Miller was fantastic throughout the game, the first half score line was an unusual sight for the Stealth, who has led the NLL in goals scored each of the last two seasons.
“We had a number of power play chances that we didn’t finish,” said Stealth assistant coach Art Webster, who is leading the team while Head Coach Chris Hall continues treatment for throat cancer. The Stealth power play went 2-for-8 in the game.
The Stealth continued its run into the second half, scoring two more to take a 5-3 lead early in the second half. The Stealth’s fifth goal came from defenseman Curtis Hodgson in transition, the second transition goal of the night for the Stealth, a point of emphasis for the team going into the game.
“We did a great job pushing the ball up the floor and unlike last week, we finished on a few more chances,” said Webster. “But we still had a lot of good looks on which we didn’t convert. We want our defensive players to look for chances, we just need to finish consistently.”
Drew Westervelt scored a pair for the Wings, and Paul Rabil tallied his only goal of the night in the remainder of the third, and the Stealth held a 6-5 lead going into the final 15 minutes.
The Wings opened the fourth with three straight goals to take an 8-6 lead, including a third from Westervelt. After Cam Sedgwick scored his second goal of the night to bring the Stealth within one, Crowley answered with his fourth of the night, this time shorthanded with 7:35 left in regulation.
Lewis Ratcliff found an answer for the Stealth with 4:41 on the clock to cut the Stealth deficit back to one goal. Defenseman Matt Beers tallied his second of the night — the first multiple-goal came of his career – just a minute later to tie the game at nine and eventually send it to overtime.
Both teams had opportunities to score during the overtime period, but just over three minutes in, Crowley, as the trailer on a fast break, received a pass from Dan Dawson and scored to give the Wing’s its first victory of 2012.
“(Crowley) is a big, body and can shoot the ball; if he gets time and space he’s going to finish,” said Webster. “We gave him too much time, and too much space all night and he did what you’d expect a good player in this league to do.”’
Sedgwick and Beers lead the Stealth with two goals and an assist apiece. Rabil and Zywicki each had a goal and an assist, while Rhys Duch and Tyler Richards were credited with three assists each.
Richards finished with 35 saves in the loss. Four Stealth players finished with double-digit loose balls, led by Duch with 13. Bob Snider dominated in the face-off circle, going 16-for-23 and grabbing 12 loose balls.
Three Wings players scored goals in the contest, led by Crowley’s five. He also added an assist and has 14 points (8g, 6a) in his first two NLL games. Westervelt recorded a hat trick and Brendan Mundorf Scored twice and added three assists. Goaltender Brandon Miller made 49 saves to earn his first win of 2012.
The Stealth returns home next weekend as they face the Edmonton Rush at the Comcast Arena. The game is scheduled for Saturday, January 28 at 7:15pm PST. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by calling 877-MY-75-TIX or at www.stealthlax.com.